I love a holiday. Last year, I went on five. However, I’m only 23, I live in London and I don’t have a trust fund. So, I have to be really careful about where I go and what I spend, but I don’t let it stop me travelling. If there’s one thing I would tell someone else to do, it’s travel – get out and see as much of the world as you possibly can, see how other people live, learn and enjoy yourselves. I don’t think we should ever underestimate the importance of that. With that in mind, here are some tips for making sure you can still travel, whatever your budget.
1. Find the Cheapest Flights
Thanks to Skyscanner and the recently much-improved flight search functionality on Google (it’s brilliant, try it), you can find the cheapest flights at the cheapest times. I really like putting some dates and then destination ‘Everywhere’ into Skyscanner – I’ve chosen holidays just by scrolling through, seeing what’s affordable and choosing where I want to go. Don’t go straight to the airline company’s page, and don’t just go to a travel agent! Also, I clear my cache regularly – I don’t know if it’s true or not, but apparently sites (especially hotel sites) remember where you’re looking to go and hike the price up accordingly.
2. Think about Accommodation
Choose your type of accommodation carefully – personally, I never go for all-inclusive unless it really is the only option. That’s partly because I don’t see the point of going away somewhere and not leaving your hotel, but also because I find it is so much more expensive. I’ll use Thailand as an example; I went to a travel agent and the cheapest price for hotel/fights/some meals was around £1000. I did it on my own and did the entire trip (including flights, accommodation and ALL spending money) for about £800. An apartment or villa can work out cheaper, especially if you’re on a sunshine break; BBQs by the pool are a lot less expensive than eating out every night, for example.
3. Think about when You Go
Obviously, if you have children, you will probably have to work around school holidays. If not, never go away when the kids are off school; everywhere will be MUCH more expensive. Also, avoid national holidays, festivals etc, anything like that (unless you’re going there especially for one) because it’ll put the price up. Also, there are high and low seasons in most places – try to go at the beginning or end, if not in the low season, as prices will be more affordable.
4. Save Money Wherever You Can
Whether you’re booking a flight or a hotel, they’re going to try and sell you added extras that, whilst they may sound nice, you probably don’t actually need. Do you really need to pay for hold baggage? Or, at least, can you share the cost with someone you’re travelling with? Do you need to pay for breakfast at the hotel or would it be cheaper (and maybe better) elsewhere? Do you have to pay on a credit card? Can you do part-payments? Only spend what you NEED to spend in order to do what you want to do. Don’t get swayed by marketing copy!
5. Spending Money
Often, for me, it’s the spending money that causes the most issues. I can be sensible with my flights and hotels – I’m sitting on a computer and have time to think it through. Not the same when I’m presented with a trip that sounds amazing, or a restaurant that looks great but turns out to be a rip-off. Firstly, find the best exchange rate; do not just go for the first one you see. Once you’re there, make sure you don’t fall into the trap of overpriced touristy restaurants and rubbish day trips by researching beforehand. Google the best places to eat, the best trips to take and plan what you really want to do. Follow blogs, use TripAdvisor, ask friends. Don’t waste a single moment of your holiday.
6. Think about Your Options
If you can’t afford the traditional hotel-type holiday, that doesn’t mean you can’t go away. Think about swapping your house; try Home Exchange. If you don’t fancy that, look at alternative types of accommodation – AirBnb is great. Don’t go for a hotel or a villa with a pool, find a small apartment by the beach. Who needs a swimming pool when you have the ocean?! Look at budget hotels, especially for city breaks. Do you really have to stay in a lovely hotel when you’re going to be spending very little time in it? As long as it’s clean, functional and in a convenient location, that’s all you need.
7. Be Open-minded
I rarely have a fixed destination in mind when I’m looking for flights etc. I have some ideas, and normally one place I’d really like to go to if I can afford it, but I generally chose my trips based on affordability at the time I’m looking to go. Be open-minded about where you want to go – you might end up falling in love with somewhere that never even crossed your mind before.
I hope some of these tips help if you’re currently trying to book your summer holiday! So I do have to sacrifice other things to go away often, because I really don’t have very much money and I don’t stay in luxury places when I do go away. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is where you are, and who you’re with. Do you have any travel tips for me?